HELP!!! My 2.5 year old needs motion to go to sleep UPDATE: Eliminating naps seems to have fixed the problem! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 03-30-2010, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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See my update in post #27. It looks like giving up naps entirely may be our solution.

Here's my original post:

I'll try to keep this brief.

DD is 2.5 years old. She sleeps in our bed. From birth, she has either nursed to sleep or needed strong motion to fall asleep (bouncing, a ride in the car or stroller). If left to her own devices, she'll stay up until midnight before she conks out from total exhaustion.


We are still nursing, but I'm 16 weeks pregnant and my milk supply has tanked. Nursing no longer seems to calm her to sleep like it used to. She can nurse for an hour and not get sleepy at all. She is now a big girl, big enough that neither I nor DH nor her grandparents can bounce her to sleep (we all have back problems). Her nanny, who watches her three times a week and has biceps of steel, can and still does so, however.


We have a bedtime routine of quiet play in her room, a bath, stories, prayer, and nursing. Lately I've been giving her a bottle of warm milk before nursing to see if that would help, since my supply is so minimal. This worked great the first time we tried it, helped the second time with about 30 minutes of nursing to follow, but didn't work at all today. My last resort is a ride in the car. Usually she conks out after about a 20 minute ride, sometimes sooner.


She still takes a daily 1.5-2 hour nap. She usually sleeps 10-11 hours at night, so she's getting 11.5 to 13 hours most nights.


If we let her go without a nap, she seems REALLY tired and cranky, so I'm thinking she's not ready to drop her nap yet. When we just let her stay up, instead of taking a ride in the car, she'll stay up for hours, and is super tired the next day. So I don't want to do a "child-led" bedtime. And I don't want to have the car be a crucial part of our nap/bedtime routine.


On the positive side, she is starting to sleep through the night more often, and if she does wake it's just once or twice a night (used to be every two hours like clockwork).


So my questions are:


Has anyone every gone through a stage like this?

How long did it last?
Any suggestions about alternatives to the car ride?
Any other suggestions?

PLEASE help me brainstorm and solve this problem!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#2 of 29 Old 03-30-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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When they drop the nap there are days/weeks of really tired/cranky but it changes the ability to go to bed, yours might be at that point.

How about doing the car ride but finishing right before she falls alseep so she has the sensation of falling asleep still, not while moving?

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#3 of 29 Old 03-30-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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Well we had to drive our ds to sleep for about 5 months. Got very anoying but worked great. When we got closer to his 3rd birthday we stopped and he did very well with it. I think he was tired of it too. Was fighting us every night for a week when we said it was time to go for a ride. So now he gets to watch one show on the couch and then bed time. That's what works for us, good luck! Sleeping issues aren't any fun. Forgot to add that he stopped napping on his own right after he turned 2, so he is pretty tired by 7-8pm.
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#4 of 29 Old 03-30-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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It takes DS about 45 mins to wind down in the bed and fall asleep. Maybe yours needs that much time? It doesn't matter what our routine is, he will not just lay down and fall asleep. We cosleep and one of the things that I noticed is if I turn and lay on my side, facing away from him, it signals to him this is serious bed time and he will wind down faster.

We drove for naps but not for night sleeping. I remember one day when he was 2.5, both hubby and I were too tired to drive him for a nap so we put him on the bed in between us, and boom he went to sleep right away. I was kicking myself for not trying that earlier. That only lasted for 6 months, now he is refusing naps.
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#5 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maluhia View Post
When they drop the nap there are days/weeks of really tired/cranky but it changes the ability to go to bed, yours might be at that point.

How about doing the car ride but finishing right before she falls alseep so she has the sensation of falling asleep still, not while moving?
Hmm, that's good to know. I was thinking though, that her day naps would probably get shorter when she was closer to being ready. We'll have to give this some thought. The other problem is that sometimes when she skips a nap she'll fall asleep from total exhaustion at about 5 PM, and won't treat it as bedtime, but as a nap. And then we are really screwed. So I've been loathe to try eliminating the nap all together.

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Originally Posted by mrsv102304 View Post
Well we had to drive our ds to sleep for about 5 months. Got very anoying but worked great. When we got closer to his 3rd birthday we stopped and he did very well with it. I think he was tired of it too. Was fighting us every night for a week when we said it was time to go for a ride. So now he gets to watch one show on the couch and then bed time. That's what works for us, good luck! Sleeping issues aren't any fun. Forgot to add that he stopped napping on his own right after he turned 2, so he is pretty tired by 7-8pm.
I'm encouraged to hear this was a stage and not forever.

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Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
It takes DS about 45 mins to wind down in the bed and fall asleep. Maybe yours needs that much time? It doesn't matter what our routine is, he will not just lay down and fall asleep. We cosleep and one of the things that I noticed is if I turn and lay on my side, facing away from him, it signals to him this is serious bed time and he will wind down faster.

We drove for naps but not for night sleeping. I remember one day when he was 2.5, both hubby and I were too tired to drive him for a nap so we put him on the bed in between us, and boom he went to sleep right away. I was kicking myself for not trying that earlier. That only lasted for 6 months, now he is refusing naps.
Tonight we did bath, stories, prayer, a bottle, some nursing (although she said, there's no milk in the bobos, mama, and it hurt like crazy when she latched on). When she was done with nursing, I told her we were going to rest in the dark. She lay with me for about 30-45 minutes, but was totally wide awake at the end of that time. I just don't know if I can devote 2.5 hours to bed time every night. Definitely not when the new baby gets here.
DH is out driving her right now.

The other factor is that she may be teething with her 2 year molars off and on. She was sticking her hand in her mouth all day, and said her teeth hurt (although she'll say this at any time to get medicine) so we gave her some Ibuprofen before her bath.

I just still don't know what's going on. No one has ever been able to get her to sleep without the nursing or motion, and we've had quite a few try!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#6 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Thalia - While I didn't have the same issue (needing motion), maybe my experience will help you. My 2.5 year old DD was a terrible sleeper until she was around 18 months old. She started out in our bed and in a cradle but after a few months it became clear that the cradle was better; we move her to a crib in her own room before she turned one. Nursing her to sleep, which worked maybe 60% of the time when she was younger had stopped working and we tried everything to get her to sleep. Finally, we were so exhausted we decided to get firm. What this meant for us was setting a fairly strict bedtime (btw 8 and 8:10), a bedtime routine of bath (some nights), four or five books (her books were pretty short at that age), nursing, put in crib, talk about the best parts of the day while rubbing her back, rub back in silence, say goodnight etc. and leave. For a couple months we didn't leave until she was asleep, which took quite some time (I don't remember exactly but maybe 1.5 - 2 hours for the whole bedtime routine, maybe more), then we started leaving a little earlier even if she wasn't asleep telling her we'd be right in the next room. She'd cry and we'd go back to comfort her and keep doing that until she was okay with us leaving or was asleep, but sometimes we'd just let her cry a bit. We'd go back if she cried more than 10 or 15 minutes or sounded truly upset, but most of the time it was just angry crying. I know that letting your LO cry is unpopular, but we figured by 2 years old a little angry crying was okay - after all she cried whenever she demanded cookies and didn't get them. Over time it got better and better (although there was a period in which she found lots of excuses to call us back in!) Now the bedtime routine is about an hour total and my husband and I both enjoy the time with her (each of us does it sometimes). She's happy with the whole thing and sometimes even tells us to leave the room (if you knew how things had been before, you'd know how AMAZING that is). We've tried to shorten it, but she gets upset and since our current routine/schedule actually works for everyone, even if it's a bit long, we figure its not worth upsetting her for it.

At 18 months, I thought things would never improve, but they did. What helped was this: consistency (we had not been consistent with anything related to DD before this), accepting that there would be some tears but that at 2 years some angry tears were okay, accepting small changes/improvements that add up over time.

Good luck!
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#7 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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If she likes motion to sleep, have you thought about letting her snuggle with a vibrating something, like one of those giant back massagers wrapped up in a cuddly blanket or making a furry cover for it, or something...or maybe even the noise or sensation of movement might help? a swaying mobile overhead, kept swaying by a fan, which could also give her the swooshing sound of movement?

Also something I did with ds when he was small and I had hurt my back was I would lay him on the bed and as I read stories and sang I would bounce my bum on the edge of the bed giving the whole bed a shaking motion that lulled him to sleep without putting my back out.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#8 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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I use one of those crib vibrators for my DD. She's one and a half and it still seems to calm her for going to sleep.
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#9 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by momma-z View Post
She'd cry and we'd go back to comfort her and keep doing that until she was okay with us leaving or was asleep, but sometimes we'd just let her cry a bit. We'd go back if she cried more than 10 or 15 minutes or sounded truly upset, but most of the time it was just angry crying. I know that letting your LO cry is unpopular, but we figured by 2 years old a little angry crying was okay - after all she cried whenever she demanded cookies and didn't get them. Over time it got better and better (although there was a period in which she found lots of excuses to call us back in!) Now the bedtime routine is about an hour total and my husband and I both enjoy the time with her (each of us does it sometimes). She's happy with the whole thing and sometimes even tells us to leave the room (if you knew how things had been before, you'd know how AMAZING that is). We've tried to shorten it, but she gets upset and since our current routine/schedule actually works for everyone, even if it's a bit long, we figure its not worth upsetting her for it.
Good luck!
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm not ready to let her cry by herself in the dark yet, but might try some of your other suggestions.

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If she likes motion to sleep, have you thought about letting her snuggle with a vibrating something, like one of those giant back massagers wrapped up in a cuddly blanket or making a furry cover for it, or something...or maybe even the noise or sensation of movement might help? a swaying mobile overhead, kept swaying by a fan, which could also give her the swooshing sound of movement?

Also something I did with ds when he was small and I had hurt my back was I would lay him on the bed and as I read stories and sang I would bounce my bum on the edge of the bed giving the whole bed a shaking motion that lulled him to sleep without putting my back out.
That kind of bouncing might work. Worth a try.

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Originally Posted by littlehoneybee View Post
I use one of those crib vibrators for my DD. She's one and a half and it still seems to calm her for going to sleep.
Ditto.

Today we are trying no nap, since she was wide awake at 1:30 PM (after an hour of nap rituals), which was after a morning of vigorous play outside.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#10 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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Thalia - We didn't leave our DD in the dark, but used a pretty bright nightlight that was sort of magnified by a see-through toy in front of it. Also, for the months we stayed by her side until she was asleep, she cried often even though we were right next to her crib rubbing her back and talking gently to her. I don't say this to be defensive, but to explain that things didn't improve for us until we began to distinguish between sad/scared crying and angry crying. I totally, completely respect and understand your wish to not let her cry alone. We were the same way with DD for a long time, and will also avoid crying with our 5 month old DS until he's much older also (in the meantime, we're more actively trying to teach him to sleep better - without crying - so we don't end up in the same place next year! It was no fun for anyone.) Good luck!
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#11 of 29 Old 03-31-2010, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, momma-z. I definitely understand where you are coming from. We've had our share of nights with DD crying in arms, so I can understand how it might not be that different to have her cry alone. I'm just not ready for it yet.

We skipped her nap today, as I mentioned earlier, and she was tired but not much more cranky than usual. I had to avoid stuff that I knew would put her to sleep (stroller rides, a car ride longer than 5 minutes). I think she could have fallen asleep as early as 5:00 PM if I had tried, but I wanted to try and get her closer to a normal bedtime. We ate dinner early, got her in her PJ's and took a ride in the car at 7:10. By 7:19, she was out cold.

She slept for two hours and woke up calling for me, but all she needed to get back to sleep was me holding her for a few minutes. She's asleep in our bed now, and I'm hoping she'll have some good rest tonight. Then we'll see how tomorrow goes.

I really appreciate everyone's input. This phase has been driving me crazy, because I'm sure my friends and family who do CIO think we are nuts, and I really want her to get the rest she needs. But I can't be doing three hour bed time routines when this baby comes! Just hearing your comments helps a lot.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#12 of 29 Old 04-01-2010, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So today I left it up to our caregiver whether to do a nap or not, depending on how tired she seemed. She woke up on her own at 7:30 AM, which meant she got a full 12 hours of sleep last night. Caregiver felt that she seemed tired enough for a nap at 11:15 AM, and after a bottle and 15 minutes of bouncing, she fell asleep. She slept for just under two hours.

She had a full day including two hours outside, and seemed a little more cheerful than she has been lately by the time I got home. We made some dumplings together, had an early dinner, and I got her in the bath by 7:00 PM.

I decided to try driving her at 7:30 PM tonight, just to see how early she could fall asleep on a day where she'd gotten 12 hours of sleep in. I was guessing it would take two iterations of our 20 minute route, and sure enough, she fell asleep right at 8:10 PM.

So now I'm going to see what happens tomorrow; how early she wakes up, etc. I've decided to spend a week not worrying about the driving, to just do it, and to just see if it's possible to get her to sleep consistently earlier than we have been. Then I'll at least know that she CAN get to bed earlier, and that it's probably not the nap that's the problem. Treating it like an experiment has taken a lot of the stress out of the equation for me. I still don't want to be driving her for 40 minutes every night in the future, but for now I think it might help me figure out what's going on.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#13 of 29 Old 04-03-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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Just wanted to add a couple of ideas. My son is 3 now and needs motion for naps. I actually think he first needs the containment to calm his body and cue that it's sleep time and then the motion helps him sleep. Anyway, he's been taking longer at naptime to fall asleep. I've also noticed that he'll sleep the same number of hours in a day (about 11.5), so if he naps, he goes to bed that much later. For example, with a nap, he's asleep by 8:45 or so and awake by 6:45. Without a nap, he's asleep by 7:30 and awake at 7:00. This has made it pretty clear to me that he's ready to drop a nap, which actually ends up working best for our family (so that my 1 yr old can get down for a nap at a better time). So all of that is to say that it sounds like your dd could still use a nap, at least coming from my perspective.

Could you do a stroller to get her to sleep? I probably wouldn't feel comfortable at night and the weather could be yucky but it's an idea. For ds naps, I've done stroller walks for the last year, rain or shine, wheeling the stroller into the house.

Also, just a gentle reminder that your daughter will change so much in the next few months. Just because something is working (or not working) now doesn't mean it will be that way when the baby comes. Most likely not. I would focus on right now: if this isn't working, change it. But try not to project into the future too much.

Then I would try to come up with strategies for how to teach your daughter to fall asleep in a different way. My son really made a big shift when we introduced music into the routine. And he picks the music. It's not always the gentle music I would imagine would help. Maybe exploring other types of cues (music, lighting, songs, massage...???). And keep in mind that any type of change will probably make the routine longer at first until she gets used to it. It might be worth putting the time in up front to make it smoother later.

A technique that has been super helpful for us when making any major change for my son has been to write a book. We write it in first person (as if your dd was doing the talking) and explain the whole situation in terms of her needs/feelings, your needs/feelings, and what her choices are. For example, "I love going to sleep. I take a bath, say my prayers, read a book, and listen to my music. Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep and I feel sad. My mama also feels sad when I'm up for a long time. I know that if I can't sleep, I can ask my mama to hold my hand. I can listen to my music over and over. I can count sheep." Obviously, this is a very rough example. Make sure to use illustrations or photos and read it over and over and over again. While this approach has sometimes taken a couple weeks or more to see an effect, it's always been huge with my son.

In the No Cry Sleep Solution, Pantley points out that kids need to be actively taught how to relax and fall asleep. She's got some good ideas to work with, like the progressive muscle relaxation. That has helped my active boy release some energy in a gentle way and go to sleep.

Another idea: what about an audio book or some sort of audio relaxation tape? Sometime soothing to listen to...

Okay, enough of my book! I look forward to hearing what happens for you.
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#14 of 29 Old 04-03-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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Great ideas from fastyfeet!

I was just going to echo what a pp said about giving up naps. The period in which they go from regularly napping to cutting out the nap entirely can last for quite a long time. And, contrary to what you were thinking, it doesn't always mean shorter and shorter naps until they don't nap at all. In fact for both of my kiddos the way they gave up the nap was that on the days when they did nap they still napped for as long as ever, but then they'd start to have the odd day of no nap. Then those odd days became more often. It was a real struggle at first because (like the other poster mentioned) there can be a lot of grumpiness involved as they're adjusting, and (like you noticed) a lot of days when they are ready for bed at a ridiculously early time.

So I know I'm not really answering your OP (re. needing motion to sleep), but I wanted to post to say that it does sound like you might be entering the beginning of the giving up naps stage. And my best advice there is not to fight it. Just ride out those difficult days and your dd will get herself sorted out soon enough. My ds used to be a real night owl and I was actually so relieved when he stopped napping because only then could I get him to bed at a decent time - and the whole bedtime routine took way less time.

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#15 of 29 Old 04-04-2010, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you pianojazzgirl and fastyfeet, those are great ideas and food for thought.

The stroller does work great for naps, but sadly, I wouldn't feel safe walking around for 20-40 minutes at night.

I really appreciate the reminder not to project into the future too much. I give that advice all the time, but I need to remember to apply it to myself, too!

The book idea is a great one and I think I will do it as soon as we find some new ways to relax to put into the routine.

I will go back to the NCSS and look into the relaxation techniques. That could definitely be something to try.

The music is also a good idea. We've been listening to a few Putumayo CD's of African music in the car, which DD loves, and that might help us transition to relaxing at home.

It's good to hear more about the giving up naps, stage, too. I agree that we might be just starting that stage. We'll have to see.

As for an update, we had a horrible night on Friday. We all went to a Good Friday service and decided to just extend the ride home until she went to sleep. We brought all her bedtime stuff with us and got her changed before we left church. I dropped DH off after a bit and kept on with DD, as it was taking a while for her to relax. Unfortunately, after she fell asleep, I didn't wait long enough before driving back home, and she woke up when I transferred her and couldn't get back to sleep. Or maybe she just woke up and it had nothing to do with the timing.

DH and I were both wiped and didn't feel safe getting back in the car to drive around more, and I thought that she'd be able to nurse back to sleep pretty quickly. No dice. We spent the next two hours in bed, trying to help her relax down. She nursed for a long time, then laid in bed between us. She just seemed so restless. Finally we realized that we hadn't given her anything for teething. About 30 minutes after we gave her some ibuprofen, she finally nursed down again. But we were all pretty grumpy about it all.

I don't know what to conclude from that experience. I'm giving her at least ten minutes before I transfer her now, which worked well yesterday. And I'm trying not to forget about her teeth. I hate giving meds when I'm not positive she's in pain, but I don't see an alternative right now.

Last night went fine. She seemed to be dragging out dinner, potty-time, and PJ's a bit, but it wasn't a big deal. She went to sleep just fine in the car.

Today she fell asleep for her nap on the way home after the Easter service and a long brunch at a restaurant. It was a two-hour nap, ending at 3:30 PM, so she may take longer to get to bed tonight. I've been trying to drive her to sleep between 7:30 and 8:30 PM, but tonight it is definitely going to be later. It's a holiday with all kinds of excitement (and more sugar than she's used to), so I'm just trying to go with the flow.

I really appreciate anyone who has read this far on our little sleep journey! It really helps to get all the ideas, feedback, and experience when you are feeling at the end of your rope!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#16 of 29 Old 04-06-2010, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Last night was very difficult.

We had big thunderstorms in our area. DD had woken up at 8:00 AM after going to bed at 10:30 the night before. She had a good nap from 12:15 to 2:15, and lots of active outdoor play. We ate an early dinner, had a bath, got her in her PJs, and got ready for a drive in the car. I remembered her Ibuprofen for teething and some warm milk in a bottle for the car. She had her favorite blanket and lovey.

Just as we got in the car at 8:00 PM, it started to rain. And it rained for the next two to three hours. I ended up driving DD around for an hour and a half of that time. She got very sleepy, but wouldn't close her eyes. I didn't know if she wasn't tired because her bedtime was so much later the night before, or because of the thunder and lightning. She's not scared of either, generally. It may just have been interesting. And the noise from the rain was mostly peaceful, but it was still noise. Finally, at 9:30, I gave up and drove home. I changed her and then we tried rocking in the dark for another 20-30 minutes. She wasn't sleepy at all by this point.

I was so confused and frustrated at this point, that I let her get down from my arms, sat down on the sofa and started to cry. This prompted DD to cry, and I felt terrible because she seemed so distressed to see me crying. I tried to reassure her, but she wanted DH. He was working late, but fortunately I knew he was on his way home at that point, and five minutes later he walked in the door. I had him hold her for about five minutes while I went upstairs and cried a little more. I could tell I was feeling the pregnancy hormones and needed to get them out before I could turn my attention back to DD, but I didn't want to distress her any more.

When I felt better, I had DH bring DD upstairs to nurse. She cried and didn't want to, but I thought she might still do it even with the protests, based on past behavior. DH hadn't eaten dinner and it was 10:30 by this point, so I wanted to give a shot so that he could eat in case I needed him to take over later.

She screamed and cried but did ultimately lie down with me and nurse. It's getting more and more uncomfortable to nurse these days, because my milk is gone, and DD has been nursing oddly lately, probably because of the lack of milk. It really hurts to latch on, and I had that skin crawling feeling I've heard other mamas talk about, but she did seem to be settling down, so I kept going. But after about 15 minutes, I couldn't take it and popped her off. She cried for about 30 seconds, but then closed her eyes. I lay with her for about ten minutes, because the thunder had started again, and I didn't want her to startle awake and not find me there.

At about 10:45, I went downstairs and cried on DH's shoulder for a while, and just expressed all the thoughts that had been spinning in my head. We decided that I'll try and talk to our family doctor (who is very AP) on Wed, just to get some additional input from someone we trust. And we decided we would try going without a nap the next day (today) to see if we could break this late night cycle, since there are thunderstorms predicted for our area again tonight. I was also feeling overwhelmed about making dinner ahead: on Tuesdays my in-laws watch DD, and I always try to make a meal ahead so that we can all sit down to eat something homemade as soon as I get home from work. I'd planned to do that earlier in the evening when I thought DD would be asleep. He told me that we should either order out or send his parents home early. That helped.

I don't even know why I'm writing this anymore. I just need to document it somewhere and get it off my chest because it feels like such a big deal, such an unsolvable problem, and yet when I talk it through I know it's not.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#17 of 29 Old 04-06-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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This sounds really really challenging! I don't have any practical sleeping advice, but in your last post, you mentioned needing to document this sleeping stuff somewhere. I actually do this and think it is a great thing! I work on a computer so I have a word document that is soooo long now. I just add to it when I can. I definitely just note trends - this is not a sleep log by any means. But it keeps me sane - I actually go back and read about times when things have been better/easier and it gives me hope. I think that when you are just exhausted, it is impossible to try to figure out if something is working or not. The notes help me remember.

Anyway, just thought I'd suggest that you keep it up if you think it can help. I know it keeps me sane. Sort of
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#18 of 29 Old 04-06-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#19 of 29 Old 04-06-2010, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Jennd1002 and pianojazzgirl. I'm an academic and researcher by nature and by profession, so data-gathering is a natural urge for me. I like your idea of documenting things--maybe I'll continue to do it here for a while and/or do some sleep logs. I remember when DD was little and I was still on leave, at some point I just had this huge urge to see what our days really looked like. So I spent a few weeks writing down everything she did in detail. I felt a little nutty, but somehow it really helped to feel like I knew what the patterns were and made me feel more like a mom.

The way this urge to research and experiment backfires sometimes is that there's no way to do a "controlled experiment" with DD's sleep. There are always new variables popping up all the time. Teething, thunderstorms, holidays, growth spurts, and so on. I can never isolate her sleep from these things, and in some sense I don't want to, because that's life, you know? But it does drive the experimenter in me crazy sometimes.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#20 of 29 Old 04-07-2010, 09:06 AM
 
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I would cut out the naps. My dd went from napping 1.5-2 hours to none at 3 years exactly. At the time, she'd fight going to bed as well. It would be 11 at night (or later) before she'd fall asleep. We all go to bed at the same time (bath at 8 pm, books around 8:30-9) she wakes up anywhere from 8-9am...most days 9am, although she'd probably sleep longer if I let her.
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#21 of 29 Old 04-07-2010, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We tried no nap yesterday and it went pretty well. She was almost falling asleep at dinner, and I was worried she was going to fall asleep right at the table with food in her mouth and choke! I should have just interrupted her and taken her upstairs, but every time I tried to get her away from the table she cried pitifully and said she wanted to eat more . She got a little bit of a second wind as we got her ready for bed with a very shortened bedtime routine, and was restless as she nursed. So I tried the car again, and this time it took about 30 minutes before she fell asleep. She was definitely fighting it. She woke up twice but went right back down with a little nursing.

I did learn that the African Party CD makes her much sleepier in the car than the World Dreamland CD (go figure! ), and that holding her lovey can actually be a distraction in the car, because she started to play with him last night. These were both nuggets of info I was really grateful to have. That plus the obvious, that I really need to be ready to catch her when she first gets sleepy on the days when she doesn't do a nap, or she'll be overtired and fight sleep.

I think I am going to let her sleep in today and try no nap again, and see how it goes. I'm also taking her in to the doctor for a check up, and I should be able to ask our family doc about going to no naps, and how much sleep she might really need. He's very AP and a good guy, so I'm interested to have his input.

Thanks again to anyone who has read this far!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#22 of 29 Old 04-07-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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The way this urge to research and experiment backfires sometimes is that there's no way to do a "controlled experiment" with DD's sleep.
You sound like me! I am a scientist so I am always saying that my sleeping experimental design is flawed - too many variables! I am really just posting this so you can laugh at me - for the first month or so of my son's life (when I was on leave) - I tried to keep track of everything like wake times and feedings and plot it out so that I could detect a pattern. And I do mean literally make graphs....Um, yeah, this is a human...duh! It didn't quite work out like that!
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#23 of 29 Old 04-07-2010, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jend1002-I never made it as far as making graphs: that is brilliant!

Okay, I think I may be a convert to no naps, at least for now. I was home with DD today and we did no nap. She didn't get cranky at all until right before dinner) about 1.5 hours before bedtime, and it wasn't a full meltdown, just two times when she got upset over something being changed that normally might not bother her.

We then did a bath, stories, and nursing, with lights out at 7:30 PM. She was still restless, so we did do a ride in the car, and she was out in 8 minutes at 8:08 PM! If she wakes up at the same time tomorrow that she did today, she'll be consistently getting 12 to 12.5 hours of sleep per night. I think this might work for us.

I also posted about this on my Facebook page, and there were at least seven people who said their little one dropped the last nap at this age, or even younger. So I feel in good company. I also talked to at least two people who said their kids went through a phase of doing a "quiet time" instead of a napping, but went back to napping around 3. Interesting!

Feeling so much better with two good bedtimes under my belt!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#24 of 29 Old 04-08-2010, 04:40 AM
 
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Another vote for no naps. DD1 dropped them at 2yrs 2months. If she had one, bedtime was a nightmare, wouldn't go to sleep until 10 or later! You go through a week of hell, we were putting her to bed at 6:30 for awhile. What time does your DD eat dinner? I find if my 2 are sitting down by 5pm at the latest (heck sometimes we do 4:30 if it's been that kind of day) we have a much easier evening and bedtime.

I have also been wondering as I've read through this thread, maybe she likes the car because it means you leave her alone? It sounds like you're doing a lot of work to get her to sleep, bouncing, rocking, nursing etc--maybe she likes the car because she's still and it's dark and nobody is hassling her? I would be really wary of making the car into a bedtime routine especially as you have a new baby on the way. Here's what I would do, aiming to have her down by 7 (on a day with no nap):

5pm dinner
play until 6 or so
6ish sippy cup of warm milk while being read to or watching bedtime tv (you say you have no more milk and I find a hot drink at bedtime really helps kids relax)
6:30 bath, teeth, pjs, books
7pm in bed, lights out

The restlessness might be her way of relaxing and getting herself ready to sleep. My two are terrible wigglers! Why not, instead of lying down with her, try sitting in a chair or on the floor? If she gets up or starts crying, say, Mommy's here, time for sleeping now, and give her a pat or something, then go back to quiet sitting. But don't switch methods! I think you've got to teach her how to fall asleep in a bed at a reasonable time, and taking her out in the car is going to work against you in the long run.

ETA: Blackout blinds. Tinfoil the windows if you have to. Nothing makes a kid more restless than knowing the day is STILL HAPPENING without her.
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#25 of 29 Old 04-08-2010, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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alfabet soup, pushing her dinner back has definitely helped. I will need to coordinate with her caregivers, though, because I work out of the home and am not usually home until 5:30 or 6:00 PM.

When have tried leaving her alone to settle down, she just stays up, either in her room or in ours. Even in the car, she often wants to stay connected right up until she falls asleep. She'll ask me questions, even though my answer is always, "shh, it's time for sleeping now, sweetie". So I think there is something about containment or motion that she needs right now. It may be that when my milk comes back in, that'll provide the calming she needs, I don't know. As an adult, I often find I need to read for about 5-15 minutes to calm myself down enough to sleep, so when she's older she may do that. DH needs TONS of sleep, and I need the normal amount or a little less, so I suspect she may be taking after me in the sleep department.

She woke up cheerful at 8:00 AM this morning. Recently she'd been sleeping in until 8 but was so grumpy when I had to wake her up. We are going to try a full week of this and see how it goes!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#26 of 29 Old 04-08-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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She'll ask me questions, even though my answer is always, "shh, it's time for sleeping now, sweetie".
LOL Thalia, they all do this! Even the really good sleepers--if you're chatting with mommy, you don't have to go to sleep! And why would you want to go to sleep when you FINALLY have mommy's total attention?!?!?
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#27 of 29 Old 04-08-2010, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I think I am a true believer now.

This is our third day of no naps. We did lights out at 7:30 PM after a nice bedtime routine of bath, PJ's and stories. She nursed to sleep for the first time in I don't know how long, in just 15 minutes! I almost don't know what to do with myself!!

I'm sure we'll continue to have some restless nights, but I'm encouraged by the fact that she hasn't had lots of outdoor play this week (it's been cold and rainy here). Once summer revs up, and God willing, if everything continues to work with no naps, she'll be getting lots of time outdoors and even more active play. I'm hoping and praying this might mean we might be able to give up the car for good!

Of course I know things will change again before I know it, especially when the new baby comes, but man, I can't tell you how excited I am that she fell asleep without the car tonight.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and support. They ALL really helped!!!

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#28 of 29 Old 04-12-2010, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A week after the start of no naps and things still seem to be going well. I've had to use the car once or twice, but she's out so quickly that it's not as much of an issue. She's also fallen asleep nursing and even reading books, which she has never done before.

With all the light in the mornings, she's starting to wake at 7:00 AM on a regular basis, so I'm trying to push her bedtime back even earlier to 7:00 PM so she gets that full 12 hours in. I'm also going to put foil on our east window to make the room darker in the mornings.

Editing to add:
Last night DD told me "I'm going to have trouble falling asleep" as we got ready for bed. I reassured her that she was tired and that we should go ahead and read stories. We got settled into bed, but she was sitting up instead of lying back on the pillows. I said, "Why don't you lie against the pillows?" She said, "I don't want to!" I said, "But honey, you need to relax." She said, "But I don't want to relax!" I asked, "Why don't you want to relax, sweetie?" and she said, "It hurts my feelings." I did end up convincing her to rest her head on my shoulder and two books later she was sound asleep.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#29 of 29 Old 04-13-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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Awww... lol @ your last post!

Glad to see the positive updates!

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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